Symptoms – Bone cancer

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After an amputation, you may be referred to a local limb centre for advice, support and rehabilitation treatment. Read more about living with an amputation.

The most common type of limb-sparing surgery involves removing the section of affected bone and some of the surrounding tissue (in case any cancerous cells have spread into the tissue).

xrays of hand arthritis

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If an X-ray suggests you may have bone cancer, you should be referred to a specialist centre with expertise in diagnosing and treating the condition. As bone cancer is rare, there are a small number of specialist centres, so you may have to travel outside your local area for advice and treatment.

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X-rays

People with this condition have a faulty version of a gene that usually helps stop the growth of tumours in the body.

Your MDT will recommend what they think is the best treatment for you, but the final decision will be yours.

You’ll be asked to attend frequent appointments in the first two years after treatment has finished – possibly every 3 months. These will become less frequent as the years go on.

Symptoms – Bone cancer

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The outlook for bone cancer depends on factors such as your age, the type of bone cancer you have, how far the cancer has spread (the stage), and how likely it is to spread further (the grade).

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Bone pain

It’s normally recommended for young people with high-grade osteosarcomas and is given after surgery, in combination with chemotherapy, to help prevent the cancer returning.

11 months prior to this presentation, he had developed pain and swelling involving knees, shoulders, and small joints of hands. His mobility became progressively impaired eventually requiring a wheelchair for any outdoor excursion.

O05 A case of cancer mimicking inflammatory arthritis

Limb-sparing surgery is usually possible when the cancer has not spread beyond the bone, and the bone can be reconstructed.

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the bones and soft tissues.

Treatment for bone cancer depends on the type of bone cancer you have and how far it has spread.

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Page last reviewed: 20 June 2021
Next review due: 20 June 2024

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When to seek medical advice

After limb-sparing surgery or an amputation, you’ll need help to return to normal life. This is known as rehabilitation.

Your treatment should be managed by a specialist centre with experience in treating bone cancer, where you’ll be cared for by a team of different healthcare professionals known as a multi-disciplinary team (MDT).

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